Realtors have Zillow. Physicians have Zocdoc. But, for financial advisors, it feels like we’re still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to digital marketing and connecting with prospective clients.

Many of us, in our forays into online marketing, are making some big blunders that waste money and time, and fail to deliver results. Here’s a quick guide to the most common digital marketing mistakes advisors make, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

Failing to measure ROI
Many advisors blindly spend money and time on social media platforms without knowing how to measure the return on investment. Experts emphasize how important it is to analyze what’s working so you know where to spend. That starts with having a strong knowledge of what success looks like for you specifically.

Large brokerages can afford to make back their marketing investment in generating a lead in five to six years since they have a lower cost of capital and often are committed to investing in growth, experts say. However, smaller advisor practices without that financial flexibility should shoot for breaking even on marketing costs in about a year, meaning they will make their money back if the client stays with that advisor for more than a year.

If you’re not achieving this at a minimum with your online marketing, it’s time to move on to other tactics.

Neglecting the quality of online content
Advisors, who provide online content, need to ensure that they are conveying their expertise. Whether these contributions take the shape of tweets, Facebook posts or LinkedIn updates, advisors should take care to ensure that the content that’s associated with their practice is high-quality and reflects expertise. One way to do this is to follow the 4-1-1 rule. Your social media content should consist of:

  • Four reposted topics from industry influencers you follow. This not only establishes your authority in staying on top of your industry, but also aligns you with known thought leaders.
  • One post of original content that highlights your expertise. Make sure this content is up-to-the minute and actionable.
  • One post on a sales- or marketing-related topic that lends itself to business and audience development

For an industry as sophisticated and complex as financial services, sloppy, salesy, poorly thought-out content can be more damaging than not having any online content at all. Know that you don’t have to be on every single social media and digital platform out there — you’ll spread yourself too thin to post truly valuable content. Test the different platforms out, find out what is effective for you, and concentrate your time, energy and money on the few platforms that deliver results.

Ignoring digital reputation
Many of us financial advisors rely heavily on word of mouth from satisfied clients. Note: 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

If you’re not monitoring your online reputation to ensure it is positive, you may undermine your business’s growth. Alternatively, if you have no online presence at all, that could also be a red flag for potential clients who are used to vetting service providers based on the information about them that is available online.

Failing to capture interested investors
When you’re spending time and money marketing your practice online, it’s all a waste unless you are capturing actionable information from interested investors.

You can create a form on your website for potential clients to fill out so that you can contact them. Another way to get more investors’ information is to offer a newsletter, which people can sign up via email to receive. Depending on your budget, you might also invest in really good CRM software that helps you log, track and monitor your prospective clients.

Not using digital
This is the age of the internet, and it’s where your potential clients spend a lot of their time. Yet many financial advisors still conduct workshops and seminars to connect with potential clients or rely on word of mouth. Today, that’s not good enough. These tactics are too expensive, time-consuming and, most of all, difficult to scale.

Digital marketing can be much cheaper than direct or in-person marketing in reaching a larger audience of prospects, and the ROI is much easier to measure. There are tangible ways to gauge how successful digital marketing campaigns are.

In 2018, advisors no longer have any excuses when it comes to evolving their marketing strategies with the new ways that people research professional services providers and access information they need to make financial decisions. Make marketing part of your CE so you can stay up to date on the latest ways to grow your practice.